Tales from the Trunk


Episode 27: R. J. Theodore - Cast Off

This time around, my guest is friend and co-host of the podcast, We Make Books, R. J. Theodore (@bittybittyzap)! Rekka reads an excerpt from the third book of her Peridot Shift series, Cast Off, which leads us into a great conversation about what can happen when your publisher closes its doors, murderboarding for fun and profit, and the things that we love so dearly about steampunk.


Things we mention in this episode:

Parvus Press 

Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian


Space elves discourse (I believe the discourse came from this)

Ever Given 

Sarah Pinsker 

Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

Jennifer "Macey" Mace's Murderboard Method, on We Make Books

C. J. Cherryh 

Mistborn series, by Brandon Sanderson

Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

Scrivener (software)

Epistolary fiction 

Gail Carriger 

The Brass Goggles forum 

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly

Jules Verne 

The Kingston Cycle, by C. L. Polk


The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Star Trek Pocket Books 

Wesley Crusher 


"The Coven of Taos-9," by R. J. Theodore, in Unfettered Hexes 

Episodes 48 and 51 of We Make Books, featuring Hilary B. Bisenieks


Join us next month, when Jen Karner and dave ring will be our guests!


Shelter In Place 14: Sarah Loch - Blue Line

This time around, we're joined by my friend, Sarah Loch (@sloch), whose new book, Blue Line, written as Ariel Bishop, just released! After hearing an excerpt from the book, we talk about about fake dating, representation, and self-publishing. Also, Sarah took a moment to tell us about her friend, F. A. Ray's new m/m soccer (football, to our listeners outside of North America) romance, Yellow Card, which is also available in early access on Gumroad.


Things we mention in this episode:

The Tripping series, by Ariel Bishop

BDSM (link contains NSFW content)

Switch (link contains NSFW content)



She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 



Join us next episode, when I'll be talking with R. J. Theodore!


Episode 26: Nino Cipri - “Presque Vu”

This time around, we're joined by Nino Cipri (@ninocipri) to talk about their forthcoming Defekt, sequel to the amazing, Hugo-finalist novella, Finna. Nino reads their trunked story, "Presque Vu" (no, not that one, the trunked one), and we talk about their thoughts on composting stories, writing workshops, and why capitalism is bad, actually.

Things we mention in this episode:

Homesick, by Nino Cipri

The Clarion (and Clarion West) Workshop

"Presque Vu," by Nino Cipri


420 (nice)

The Nebula Conference 


N. K. Jemisin 

John Scalzi 

Jim C. Hines 

Nino's website, insta, and newsletter 


Join us again in May when our guests will be Sarah Loch and R. J. Theodore!


Shelter in Place 13: Steve Toase - To Drown in Dark Water

This time around on book tour, we're joined by Steve Toase (@stevetoase), whose collection, To Drown in Dark Water, releases on April 27th, 2021! After Steve reads a selection of flash stories from the collection, we talk about cosmic horror, organic servers, and the Munich art scene.


Things we mention in the episode:

Jordan Kurella's appearance on the show

The Best Horror of the Year, volumes 6 and 11, edited by Ellen Datlow

Stefan Koidl 

Hazel Ang 

Short Story Day

"Terminus Post Quem," by Steve Toase

Mad Scientist Journal 



RFC (Request for Comments)

April Fool's RFCs 

Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol 

IP over Avian Carriers 

Whale fall 

"The Silent Brush of Wings," by Steve Toase, in Three-Lobed Burning Eye

Franz Marc 

Der Blaue Reiter 


"Simplicity," by Wassily Kandinsky

Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann

Gladius Dei, by Thomas Mann

Robert W. Chambers 

M.R. James 

our awful, racist uncle, Howard (Phillips Lovecraft) 

Paul Klee 

Cosmic horror 

The King in Yellow, by Robert W. Chambers

The Yellow Sign, by Robert W. Chambers

Fortean Times Magazine 

Harrogate, north Yorkshire

Flint knapping 


Asbestosis WARNING: some gross images on that wikipedia page

Embodied Geographies, edited by Elizabeth Kenworthy Teather

Steve's blog 

Steve's newsletter 

Steve's patreon 


Join us again on April 16th, when our guest will be Nino Cipri!


Episode 25: Kelly Robson - “Deadfall”

Hello, and welcome to season 3!

This time around, we're joined by Kelly Robson (@kellyoyo), whose new collection, Alias Space, comes out April 30th, 2021, from Subterranean Press! Kelly reads her story, "Deadfall," which she wrote as a futurist-in-residence during a conference, and we dive right into talking about what being a futurist is all about.


Things we mentioned in this episode:

A. M. Dellamonica 

Stan Rogers 

The Book of Dragons, edited by Jonathan Strahan

The Newsflesh series, by Mira Grant

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

Shaw Broadcasting 

Stantec Engineering 

Nakoda (Stoney) Tribe

Lenape (Delaware) Tribe

Karl Schroeder 


Madeline Ashby 

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity 


Oculus VR 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons 

Codex Writer's Group 

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 


Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

An Unkindness of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon

Subterranean Press 

Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood


Join us again on April 16th, when our guest will be Nino Cipri!


Shelter In Place 12: Engines of Oblivion, with Karen Osborne

This time on book tour, we're joined by returning guest Karen Osborne (@karenthology) to talk about Engines of Oblivion, the amazing sequel to last year's Architects of Memory, and conclusion of the Memory War duology. Karen reads us an excerpt from the book, and we take some time to talk about some of her favorite bits both that made it into print and that got taken out in edits.



Things we mentioned in this episode:

The Imperial Radch Trilogy, by Ann Leckie

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee


"Agatha All Along"


Mass Effect 

The Expanse 

"The Sky is a Neighborhood," by Foo Fighters

"Trip Switch," by Nothing but Thieves

"Daddy Lessons," by Beyonce, featuring the Dixie Chicks

Don't Touch That: An Anthology of Parenthood in SFF, edited by Jaymee Goh


Join us again next time, when my guest will be Kelly Robson!


Episode 24: Jason Sanford - “The Wheels on the Torture Bus Go Round and Round”

This episode, we are joined by Nebula-nominated author and journalist extraordinaire, Jason Sanford (@jasonsanford). Jason reads us his story, "The Wheels on the Torture Bus Go Round and Round," and we discuss progress in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror community, the joys of short fiction, and Jason's Genre Grapevine column on his patreon, where he covers news in the field.


Things discussed in this episode:

Meadowbrook Press 

Shel Silverstein 

Newfangled Fairy Tales, edited by Bruce Lansky

"Rumplestiltskin, Private Eye," by Jason Sanford, in Newfangled Fairy Tales #2 

A. J. Hackwith on Tales from the Trunk 

"May Our Voices Sing Like Blood from Open Wounds," by Jason Sanford, in Intergalactic Medicine Show

"The Eight-Thousanders," by Jason Sanford, in the September/October, 2020, issue of Asimov's 


The Society of Professional Journalists 

Lady Whistledown's Society Papers 

Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (the sad/rabids)

Under Everest, by D. H. Dunn

Uncanny Magazine 

Analog Magazine 

Randall Kenan 

Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, by Randall Kenan

"Run, Mourner, Run," by Randall Kenan, in Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

The Peace Corps 

If I Had Two Wings, by Randall Kenan

The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells

Sarah Gailey on Tales from the Trunk

Tor.com Publishing 

"Sublimation Angels," by Jason Sanford

Plague Birds, by Jason Sanford


Join us again next month, when our guest will be Kelly Robson


Shelter in Place 11: The Echo Wife, with Sarah Gailey

This time around, we're re-joined by Sarah Gailey (@gaileyfrey), who brings us an exclusive excerpt from their forthcoming novel, The Echo Wife, which releases on February 16th, 2021. Following the reading, we talk a bit about some not-so-usual book-event questions.


Other things we mention in this episode:

The Echo Wife in Entertainment Weekly 

in Cosmopolitan 

"Look," the scary eyeball story, by Sarah Gailey


Sarah (Other Sarah) Hollowell (on Tales from the Trunk)

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

The Echo Wife tour 

Miriam Weinberg 

River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, by Sarah Gailey

When We Were Magic, by Sarah Gailey

Sarah's Substack newsletter, Stone Soup 

Sarah's Instagram 

Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Instagram)

The Mermaid, The Witch, And The Sea, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall



Tune in again in two weeks, when our guest will be Jason Sanford!


Episode 23: Fran Wilde - “How Sentient Kudzu Solved the KRYPTOS K4 Code and How the CIA Covered It Up A Revolution in Four Parts”

We're joined this time around by Fran Wilde (@fran_wilde), who reads her story, "How Sentient Kudzu Solved the KRYPTOS K4 Code and How the CIA Covered It Up A Revolution in Four Parts," which leads us into a discussion of invasive plants, poetry, and some unexpected connections from our shared alma mater.


Things we mentioned in this episode:




Philadelphia World's Fair 

Elise Tobler 


John Bartram 

Warren Wilson College 

Rita Dove 

Debra Nystrom 

Gregory Orr 

Charles Wright 

Heather McHugh 

Eleanor Wilner 

Brigit Pegeen Kelly 

Larry Levis 

Joan Aleshire 

"One Art," by Elizabeth Bishop

George Oppen 

"Without," by Fran Wilde, in Nature: Futures

"Everlasting," by Fran Wilde, in Daily Science Fiction

Updraft, by Fran Wilde

The Nebula Awards 

Life on Mars, by Tracy K. Smith

Julia Rios 

Lanternfish Press 

Klein bottles 

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, by Theodora Goss

Fran's Patreon 


Sam J. Miller 

Uncanny Magazine 

Viable Paradise 

"The Ghost Tide Chanty," by Fran Wilde

"Mayor for Today," by Fran Wilde, in Asimov's, January/February 2021

"Rhizome by Starlight," by Fran Wilde, in Rebuilding Tomorrow 

The Ship of Stolen Words, by Fran Wilde

Riverland, by Fran Wilde


Clock Star Rose Spine, by Fran Wilde



Cat Rambo's classes 

Wester Colorado University's MFA in Creative Writing program


Join us again on February 19th, when Jason Sanford will be our guest!


Shelter In Place 10: 2020 Awards Eligibility

Happy new year, everyone! It's been awards season for a hot minute already, but it takes a little while to do a roundup for all my guests who are interested in being a part of it, so here we are!

Works mentioned in this episode:

When We Were Magic, by Sarah Gailey

Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey

“We Don’t Talk About the Dragon,” in The Book of Dragons, by Sarah Gailey

“Drones to Plowshares,” by Sarah Gailey

“Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right,” by Sarah Gailey

“Everything Is The Hunger Games Now,” by Sarah Gailey

Here's the Thing 

Sarah's awards post 

“Raff and the Scissor-Finger,” by R. K. Duncan

“Clever Jack, Heavy with Stories,” by R. K. Duncan

“For Every Jack,” by R. K. Duncan

"Witness," from Fireweed: Stories of the Revolution, by R. K. Duncan

R. K. Duncan's awards post 

Prime Deceptions, by Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect, by Valerie Valdes

The Archive of the Forgotten, by A. J. Hackwith

The Library of the Unwritten, by A. J. Hackwith

Finding Faeries, by Alexandra Rowland

Be The Serpent 

Beneath the Rising, by Premee Mohamed

“Everything As Part Of Its Infinite Place,” (Patreon-locked) by Premee Mohamed

“The Redoubtables,” by Premee Mohamed

“Restoration of function to Biochemical Structure 34 using iterative molecular construction techniques: teaching an old dome new tricks,” by Premee Mohamed

“An Empathy of Fear,” by Premee Mohamed

The Big Idea: Premee Mohamed, John Scalzi's blog, March 2020

Whatever, John Scalzi's blog

Premee's awards post 

“And All the Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands,” by Sharon Hsu

“Upon What Soil They Fed,” by Jennifer Mace

“In the Salt Crypts of Ghiarelle,” in Silk and Steel, by Jennifer Mace

Silk & Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology 

"saltwashed," by Jennifer Mace

“Open House on Haunted Hill,” by John Wiswell

Machina, by Fran Wilde, Malka Older, Curtis C. Chen, and Martha Wells


A transcript of the show is below:


Before we get started, a quick reminder that I’ll be returning as a guest on the next episode of We Make Books, which should be hitting the feed on January 5th, talking about the process of trunking things. A huge shout out to Rekka and Kaelyn for inviting me back on the show!

[“Paper Wings” plays]

Hello, and welcome to Tales from the Trunk: Reading the stories that didn’t make it. I’m Hilary B. Bisenieks.

It’s awards season once again, and while I’ve already made my obligatory awards post on social media, that doesn’t do a whole lot if you don’t follow me or the show on Twitter. So once again, I’m collecting awards information for the show and all interested guests here in the feed.

This show, Tales from the Trunk, is once again eligible for Best Fancast and is my only eligible work for 2020.

Sarah Gailey, who appeared on our very first episode in March of 2019, is eligible for the Lodestar and other YA awards for When We Were Magic. They are eligible for Best Novella for Upright Women Wanted, (one of my favorite books of the past year). In the Best Short Story category, they have the following eligible stories: “We Don’t Talk About the Dragon,” “Drones to Plowshares,” and “Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right.” They are eligible for Best Related Work for their essay “Everything Is The Hunger Games Now,” and for Best Fan Writer for their newsletter, Here’s the Thing. A link to their awards post will be in the show notes.

R. K. Duncan, our May 2019 guest, has three stories eligible for Best Short Story: “Raff and the Scissor-Finger,” “Clever Jack, Heavy with Stories,” and “For Every Jack.” Additionally, their poem, “Witness,” is eligible for various poetry awards. A link to their awards post will be in the show notes.

Valerie Valdes, our July 2019 guest, is eligible for Best Novel for Prime Deceptions, the excellent sequel to last year’s Chilling Effect.

A.J. Hackwith, who was on the show in September of 2019, is in her second year of eligibility for the Outstanding Award for New Writers. The Archive of the Forgotten, the sequel to last year’s stellar debut, The Library of the Unwritten, is eligible for Best Novel.

Alex Rowland, who came on the show in October of 2019, is eligible for Best Novella for Finding Faeries, and Best Fancast for Be The Serpent, along with our October 2020 guest, Jennifer Mace.

Premee Mohamed, who joined us in November of 2019, is eligible for Best Novel for her debut, Beneath the Rising. The following are eligible for Best Short Story: “Everything As Part Of Its Infinite Place,” “The Redoubtables,” and “Restoration of function to Biochemical Structure 34 using iterative molecular construction techniques: teaching an old dome new tricks.” She is eligible for various nonfiction awards for her essay “An Empathy of Fear,” and her appearance on John Scalzi’s “Big Idea” feature on his blog, Whatever. A link to Premee’s awards post will be in the show notes.

Sharon Hsu, our December 2019 guest, is eligible for Best Short Story for “And All the Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands.”

Macey, AKA Jennifer Mace, who joined us in October of this year is eligible alongside their podcasting compatriots, Alex Rowland and Freya Marske, for Be the Serpent in the Best Fancast category. Macey’s stories, “Upon What Soil They Fed” and “In the Salt Crypts of Ghiarelle” are both eligible for Best Short Story. Silk & Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology is eligible for the World Fantasy Award for Best Speculative Anthology, and “saltwashed,” is eligible for poetry awards.

John Wiswell, who joined us in November of 2020, is eligible for Best Short Story for “Open House on Haunted Hill.”

Finally, Fran Wilde, who will be joining us on the show in two weeks, has the Serial Box serial, Machina, eligible for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, along with Malka Older and Curtis C. Chen.

Links for eligibility posts, as applicable, along with all the works mentioned on this episode will be available in the show notes.

Tales from the Trunk is mixed and produced in beautiful Oakland, California.

Our theme music is “Paper Wings,” by Ryan Boyd.

You can support the show on patreon at patreon dot com slash trunkcast. All patrons of the show now get a sticker and logo button, along with show outtakes and other content that can't be found anywhere else.

You can find the show on Twitter at trunkcast, and I tweet at hbbisenieks.

If you like the show, consider taking a moment to rate and review us on your preferred podcast platform.

And remember: don't self-reject.

[“Paper Wings” plays]

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